Novel aquafeed ingredient developer EniferBio raises €11m for expansion
Aqua-Spark leads investment round for Finnish mycoprotein company
Finnish feed ingredient developer EniferBio has raised €11 million (£9.7m) in a funding round led by sustainable aquaculture investor Aqua-Spark.
The money will be used to begin scaling up production of EniferBio’s Pekilo mycoprotein powder to thousands of tonnes per year and seek Novel Food approval from the EU and other markets.
Pekilo is a fungus that, through a special fermentation process, can produce a dried powder rich in protein and has a vast variety of usage cases, such as aquafeed, pet food, and human food. EniferBio has partnerships with aquafeed maker Skretting, pet food producer Purina, and Valio, the biggest dairy business in Finland and a major player in the international dairy ingredients market.
The Pekilo process was originally developed by forestry industry scientists in the 1960s in Finland to produce cost-efficient animal feed protein from side streams of the pulp and paper industry.
Using the same, yet enhanced, proprietary technology and fermentation process, EniferBio can upcycle by-products from diverse agri-, food- and forest industry processes into its Pekilo mycoprotein, which consists of up to 70% protein, 20-30% of good-quality fibre, and about 10% of fats and minerals, and has a high concentration of vitamin B.
EniferBio says the production process is efficient and doesn’t require large land areas or water usage like soybean, a commonly used feed ingredient, does.
Investors in the funding round include Finnish venture capital and private equity company Tesi, and Valio, along with existing investors Voima Ventures, and Nordic Foodtech VC.
EniferBio chief executive and co-founder Simo Ellilä said the new investors would put a huge amount of new sector-specific know-how and networks at his company’s disposal.
Aqua-Spark chief executive Lissy Smit said: “We are very excited to work with EniferBio to scale Pekilo as a positive ingredient in the sustainable aquaculture feed of the future.
“Greening aquaculture feed by eliminating our reliance on wild ingredients and reducing our footprint is one of our biggest priorities in getting to a more sustainable aquaculture industry.
“EniferBio’s alternative feed ingredient serves as a replacement for soy in aquafeed. It significantly reduces land and water usage. Furthermore, early trials suggest that it has the potential to improve growth performance and immune response in fish.”
Almost three years after EniferBio spun out from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, the company said it is ready to scale up its operations by building industrial production plants and applying for permission to spread mycoprotein usage into new products and markets.
“We have a product that turns today’s waste into a high-value ingredient. We can provide the world’s most competitive protein production process and a product that has been tested on an industrial scale for over 15 years. We are now ready for the next phase of scaling our production and product use cases,” Ellilä said.